I woke up this morning to a screaming 10 month old. Lord knows how long she had been howling because someone—me—turned the volume down too low on the monitor. Yay me. By the time I got a look at myself it was apparent I was a hot mess: red puffy eyes smudged with black makeup and one seriously ratty ponytail.
But I had broken the seal. I had a mommy meltdown last night.
My husband and I were sitting out back on a Friday night just talking. Somehow he wound up asking me, "What makes you happy?"
I stared blankly ahead and answered quietly, "I don't know." Then the tears came and didn't stop. It was like someone uncorked the well. I never dreamed being a working mom would be this hard. I have managed many difficult trials in my life but none of them compare to this. It has been a slippery slope, one I can't seem to smile and laugh my way out of this time.
The unrest is a bit of a three-part series.
My job is to manage three offices for a Fortune 500 builder's title company. I manage a staff of full-time employees and temporary employees. My job is like a wagon that always has a loose wheel. Just when you think its fixed, the damn wheel falls off again. I am constantly putting a band aid on something that needs healing but I cannot seem to get there. I keep thinking once this or that happens we will be a fully operating and well-oiled machine. At the end of the day, I feel like a failure. The exact thing I work so hard to make sure my employees don't feel. I go in every day, keep my head above water and do just what I need to do to get through the day.
I am a wife to my husband of almost 10 years. I come home and immediately do something; drop my purse and start dinner, make bottles, change diapers, etc. For months I have not had a dinner plan. We scrounge around for whatever, which ends up being frozen leftovers or cereal.
I feel like a failure.
Most of the time I don't even think to kiss my husband. I just start in on the things I need to do to get through the night.
I am a mother to a 10-month-old beautiful daughter. When I get home from work she lights up and rushes over to me with her little baby crawl. I scoop her up and try and give her everything I've got. I eat dinner in 10 minutes so that I can tend to her. I get her fed. I sit on the floor and play with her. I feel like a failure because I am too tired to read to her, practice counting or colors. I do just what I need to do to make sure she knows I am paying attention and that I love her.
I am a woman. When I wake up in the morning I do just what I need to get through the day. When (ha ha...if) I go to the mall, I feel awkward. I am not familiar with the new fashions. I have not flipped through a magazine in months. I no longer buy designer makeup because it costs too much. I refuse to buy new clothes because I don't want to admit my size. I just know I will lose the weight I want to in order to fit into my pre-baby clothes. I spend my weekends running errands, taking care of my kid, hiding the guilt I feel because these are the only two days a week I get the privilege of seeing her all day, laundry, cleaning and if I am lucky, a play date to breakfast or Target with one my mommy friends. I feel like a failure because I swore this week would be different and I would do something out of routine, I would do something for just me. Instead, I fall into bed and do it all again the next day.
I'm not writing this to sing the "my life is so difficult" blues. I am blessed beyond words. I'm writing this because I finally said all these things out loud. My fears and failures were out on the table and I didn't have to hide them anymore. I am writing this because I know as a woman, wife, mother and employee, I AM NOT ALONE. I know there are others of you out there that feel these same feelings. I know in my mind I am not a failure at all these important jobs, but I am struggling telling that to my heart. I want to give all things 100% and I can't.
I am the one left holding the bag.
I am the one at the end of the list.
I keep thinking—I keep praying—that after this or that something will change. I can't wait until the next thing.
"Start small," my friend told me, "You don't have to make these drastic changes, just something to change up your routine."
She was right. That was how this all happened to begin with. My husband and I never sit out back and talk but we changed things up and this is what came of it; a release, a start of something new. I have his support and his love. I have some great suggestions. I should have told him a long time ago but I thought I could just manage it. Sometimes we need the support of a spouse, friend or a loved one to be that crutch during our weak times. I am so thankful we "started small."
A solution? I don't have one yet. Just saying these things out loud was a good first step. I'm not sure what my next "small step" will be; but I am certain it will make a difference.